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Julia Whalen, Merchandise Manager

First Dose of Moderna on 05/28/21

32 yrs old

Pottsville, Pennsylvania

painted portrait credit: @covidvictimsportraits on instagram

UPDATE 06/26/22:

It's been over a year since my injury. Here's what has improved and what I still struggle with.

I've been doing aquatic therapy for a few months and have gotten so much stronger. I just did my first week on land. I'll likely be doing this for many more months before I get my old strength back.

I don't deal with any nerve pain anymore and am grateful that I have all feeling back. I do still have chronic muscle and joint pain. My balance has improved so I no longer need a cane or a walker, but longer distances tire me out.

I still struggle with neck stiffness and jaw pain, and I am seeing a chiropractor for this.

I suffer daily from POTS symptoms such as rapid heart rate, dizziness, shakiness, brain fog, and difficulty breathing. I just recently found out I also have leaky gut syndrome and most likely have sleep apnea. I am seeing a functional medicine practitioner and a sleep specialist for this.

I have come a long way in a year, but i have a lot of issues that still need to be sorted out. I haven't worked for a year and am still working with a disability lawyer.


Q: What was your life like before you got the vaccine?

I spent my days working as a merchandise manager at my local Michaels Craft store. I walked 25,000 steps a day, unloaded trucks, put out merchandise, helped run the business end of the store, and directly managed a team of 4-6 people. I absolutely loved my job! I spent my evenings and weekends bike riding, hiking, and going on other adventures with my husband and two daughters.

Q: Would you like to share your reasons for getting vaccinated?

I got vaccinated because I was truly desperate for the world to go back to normal.

Q: What was your reaction, symptoms, & timeline?

It started June 14th, 2021. I suddenly couldn’t feel my legs and was not able to walk without my legs buckling. I’ve been diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome and POTS. I suffer from weakness and numbness in my arms and legs, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, migraines, neck pain and stiffness, bladder and bowel problems, tremors, among other things.

Q: What is your life like now, after getting the vaccine?

I’m not able to drive a car, walk without a cane or walker, ride a bike, hike, do basic housework without my heart rate being dangerously high. I had to quit my job and I now rely on my husband to pay all the bills, and my two children to cook and clean while also going to school.

Q: Share your experience with any medical care and any diagnoses you have received:

I have a diagnosis of Guillain Barre Syndrome, POTS, and a reactivated case of Epstein Barr. I recently started taking a substantial amount of supplements to support my body while it heals and am going to start detoxing with an infrared sauna blanket.

Q: Was your reaction reported, and what was the response?

My reaction was reported to VAERS with zero response.

Q: Is there anything that has helped, and have your symptoms improved?

Nothing has helped me so far. I’ve been struggling for 9 months and only recently found a functional doctor that is helping me.

Q: Have you had Covid before? What was your experience if so?

I had Covid in October of 2021. My Covid developed into pneumonia and my symptoms got significantly worse since then.

Q: What do you wish others knew?

I wish I would have been more educated on getting the vaccine. That the government would have taken it slower instead of shoving it down everyone’s throats. I wish people were more open to listening to those of us that suffered an injury. I pray that we all get help to heal soon.

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Related Scientific Publications/Case Reports:

Small fiber neuropathy and POTS following Moderna and Pfizer vaccination (NIH publication): 7fDQxZwTYj0IzPE9C32lXDGqd4

POTS following Pfizer:

24 cases of GBS following COVID-19 vaccination:

Find more research and articles at


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